Friday, August 18, 2017

MAGNUM WINE BOTTLE TRASH TO TREASURE FIND

Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock, where people can put the things they don't want.  I've found several cool items so far.


This was the latest find.  
OK, so it's a wine bottle, no big deal?


Well here it is next to a REGULAR size wine bottle!  Yep, this is what I believe they call a "Magnum" of wine (or maybe it's even bigger than a magnum?).

I routinely see wine bottles downstairs (if I ever need any for a project there are lots available) but this one was was just SO enormous, I couldn't pass it up. I'm not sure what we'll do with it but I'm sure I'll find something fun someday!  I don't want to think back and go "dang, I should have kept that bottle I saw that time". 

Without having to drink a magnum of wine of course...or maybe that's not a bad thing, ha.




Thursday, August 17, 2017

STOCK TANK POND INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Stock tank pond, image via gardenweb.com
This is not anything we will do right away, but when we saw this, we were definitely intrigued.  Using a galvanized stock tank as a pond is a pretty cool idea. A great way to have a pond/water feature without all the digging, etc.  

We'll have to do some more research but we think this is a definite "keeper" for our "someday" list of things to do at the farm. Side note, must have some of those retro chairs, they SO remind me of my childhood Summers with my Grandparents...


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

SALSA FRESCA GROUND BEEF TACOS RECIPE

Here's something we love, especially on "Taco Tuesday" ha.  

Pico de Gallo vegetables
We start with a large lime, some tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro and an onion. These were (the tomatoes and jalapeños and cilantro anyway) fresh from our garden at the time I took these pictures.

These are the ingredients in Salsa Fresca, or Pico de gallo as it's also called in Tex-Mex cuisine.

Browned ground beef
We brown a pound or so of ground beef and drain it.  Add a little salt and pepper and dash of cumin (all seasonings are optional, use what you like).

Charred vegetables
I missed the picture prior to this, but we toss these veggies into/on a hot pan/griddle to get a nice char on them. No oil, just a really hot pan. It definitely brings out the flavor.  You could roast it all in the oven too, whatever you prefer. Once this step is done, dice everything into smaller pieces. 


Add the charred, diced tomatoes to the seasoned meat and stir over medium low heat.


Then add the onions and continue stirring for a couple of minutes more or until they start to soften.


The next to the last step is to add the chopped jalapeños and stir, continuing to heat on medium low.

Ground beef with salsa
Finally, add the chopped up cilantro and stir.  To this mixture, we also squeezed the juice of one large lime.  This is an important step, it really brightens the overall flavors, so don't miss it. 

Pico de Gallo beef tacos
Spread the mixture onto a tortilla and you are done. This night, we used soft corn tortillas.  Of course you could use flour or even crunchy taco shells.  We like to change it up a bit each time.  These are topped with Queso Blanco cheese, also know as Mexican crumbling cheese. You can use any cheese you enjoy.

Salsa Fresca beef tacos
Fold them over and eat.  YUM!  They are so good.  You can add anything to this, guacamole, hot sauce, more cheese, whatever you want extra. We like them simple on occasion and this is definitely simple. 





Tuesday, August 15, 2017

STARS ARE PAINTED

Got this done, in the heat (it dried REALLY fast, ha).  


Used the Rust-Oleum white Ultra Cover which is a paint and a primer in one.  


These are the stars that we got to "decorate" the backyard fence at the house in town before we sold it.  We made sure to buy something we could repurpose at the farm and these were perfect.  


I suspended each one from a chain on a tree branch and painted them one by one.


Just the front side, why waste paint by covering the back? It'll be mounted flush against the wall.


We had two of these large ones and three of the smaller ones. Got them all painted white.  

Barn star
One large one will go on the front of the barn at the top, above the double doors. Of course, guess what we discovered this weekend?  We don't have a ladder that will reach that high!  Oops!  

That's OK, too hot right now to do it anyway so this will be a Fall project.  At least we are halfway there!
  

Monday, August 14, 2017

THE LEAST POSSIBLE

We have decided that, barring some sort of drastic change in climate, August around here will be the month of doing the least possible amount of outside work.


This is why.  

Almost four o'clock in the afternoon and it "feels like" 115 degrees.  Yep. 115.  Again.


I mowed.  But didn't edge.  Oh, not sure if I  mentioned it already but we had 5 inches of rain this past week!  The ground has been so dry, it soaked it up like a sponge.  I didn't even SEE any standing water or mud while I was mowing.  


I watered, the fruit trees of course, whicht are doing great.  The 5 inches of water really made them happy and since no rain is in the forecast this week and 100+ degree temps all week, I gave them more water.  I also watered the flowerbeds and we were happy to see that everything is hanging in there.  This includes here, in front of the garden, where the lemongrass and rosemary are finally thriving after a bit of trouble getting started. 

Basket of jalapeños
The only thing left growing in the garden are the jalapeños.  I picked another big basket of them (left some to turn red) and have some special plans for these later this week.  

Pork Chop dinner with stuffing and cranberry sauce
We even had a simple dinner. Thick cut pan roasted pork chops, a quick batch of cornbread stuffing and some good old fashioned cranberry sauce from the can, just like at Thanksgiving, ha.  

Sometimes it's the simple things in life.  

Good weekend to stay inside where it's cool, eat good food and do the least possible...  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

GUARD SPIDER SUNDAY

Saw this yesterday...after I had walked under it a couple of times.  

Avert your eyes if spiders freak you out.


This garden spider (we call them "banana spiders" or "golden orb spiders" down here) had woven a web between the two posts of the garden gate, way up near the top.  


Here is a closeup as I walked in...


And here is the backside as I turned around to get another photo from the other direction...

These don't scare me, as intimidating as they look, they are harmless and eat lots of bad bugs.  Now don't get me wrong, if one was ON ME, that would be  an entirely different story, ha.  

They seem to be in various places around the garden, and I'm OK with that.  I figured she was standing guard at the entrance to the garden and we're fine with her staying there doing what she does best. 

It's been hot this weekend, dangerously hot again.  Believe it or not, the farm had 5" of rain earlier this week.  It was all dried up though, the ground soaked it up like a sponge.  

More of an update tomorrow, off to run errands today...in the air conditioning!


Friday, August 11, 2017

GATORADE NOT JUST FOR ATHLETES

This Summer, with our really hot and humid days, I've been finding myself worn out after mowing and doing just a bit of yard work.  

It just takes all your energy.  

Gatorade at the farm
2nd Man suggested getting some Gatorade to avoid getting dehydrated and replenish lost nutrients.  

I figured it was worth a try, certainly couldn't hurt. My experience with Gatorade has been only on rare occasions when sick with a stomach bug as it's the only thing that stays down.

While at the farm mowing/edging/etc, I usually consume mass quantities of water but I still always seemed to be worn out.  So I bought some (original lemon/lime, my favorite) and took it to the farm.  

WOW!  What a difference it has made.  Seems like I have more energy after exerting myself and I don't get worn out as quickly as I did before.


Is this why athletes drink it?  Maybe that's why I'm always tired out there in the Summer heat/humidity?    I've just been depleting my body of nutrients/electrolytes? 

Not sure, but whatever the reason for the effect, I like it.  Anything that will keep me going a bit longer each weekend, at least until the cooler weather comes, I'm game for!  And I'll have to try out some other flavors too.

Anyone else a Gatorade fan?

  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

BENCH FLOWERBED INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!


Now this is something of a new thing we are thinking about.  We're going to put in another flowerbed along the side of the house (across from Barnabas, the party tree).  As we thought about flowerbeds and how difficult it has been to manage them once a week, watering, keeping weeded, keeping the flowers alive (at least for now) we wondered about alternatives.  

A couple months ago, we posted THIS PICTURE about an idea for around the barns to do a "flowerbed" without flowers.  So when I stumbled across this photo, we thought this could be a great idea along the side of the house.  A couple of colorful benches IN a flower bed (so there are no weeds to mow around, etc) and we would have something there instead of just empty space, and then it's functional as extra seating (and a spot to rest). 



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

MEAT AND RICE STUFFED ZUCCHINI RECIPE

When we had our glut of REALLY large zucchini, we used them for this wonderful meal.  Several of you suggested something similar in comments, so we did some googling and realized it was more or less just a make it up yourself kind of recipe.

And that's what we did:


We started with these two ginormous zucchini... 


Cut them in half lengthwise. Make sure you position them using the side that they lay flat on before you  start cutting them...


We took about 1 1/2 lbs ground beef, browned it with some seasonings such as garlic powder, minced onions, salt and pepper.  Then 2nd Man added some fresh diced tomatoes from our garden and cooked until it was all browned and combined.

You're really just making a meat mixture for stuffing so it can be to taste.  Peppers if you like those, more sauce, different seasonings etc.


While he was doing that, I took a spoon and scraped out the center of each, which is the fiber and seeds (much like you'd find in a pumpkin or other large squash).  I tried to make it a uniform thickness all the way down the length (leaving both ends intact) just be careful and don't scrape too hard or you'll rip a hole through to the outside...

Rice and meat stuffing
We also cooked a cup of white rice and added it to the meat mixture (makes it go further)...


Missed a photo step here. 

Put the hollowed out squash in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. This is to precook it a bit so it's tender, mainly because they were so large.  If you are using smaller sized squash, you could probably skip this step.

  After taking them out of the oven from their "par-cooking" time, we just started spooning the filling into the hollowed out zucchini "boats"... 


Make sure it's full (remember the meat is fully cooked at this point).  Mound it up a bit to make it more substantial...


Then sprinkle on some cheese.  In this case we used an Italian blend of shredded cheese...

Roasted zucchini stuffed with meat and cheese
Place the filled and stuffed squash back in the oven and roast at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes more, or until the zucchini is fork tender and the cheese gets brown and bubbly.  It might take longer or shorter depending on the size of your squash... 

Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Remove from oven, slice and serve!  

I ate the zucchini with the skin because it was good, 2nd Man left the skin behind as he ate it.  

It's kind of the perfect meal: the vegetable side, the main meat entree and it has cheese (dairy) and rice (starch).  Hmm, does that make in balanced?  HA!




Tuesday, August 8, 2017

FUZZY FAUX COWHIDE BLANKETS

Just had to share these wonderful blankets that we found at the store recently.


These are the fuzzy "faux" fur kind of blankets that are super soft and velvety.  

Faux cowhide fuzzy blanket
The part we loved most about them of course is that they are faux cowhide print!  I know, buying blankets in Summer seems counterintuitive, but they were on sale BECAUSE it was Summer.  

We found them at a local Marshall's Homegoods store, $10 each on clearance.  They're a nice size too (50x70) but unfortunately, they only had two and we thought four would be a nice number to have.  

So I looked online and...



...found these (eBay)!  

Two black and white ones!  Seems only right that the 'herd' on our farm includes at least a couple different breeds, right? LOL!


We got them for ourselves of course but also for future company. We were thinking how fun they would be for future chilly nights on the porch. So we folded them and stored them in a plastic zippered bag and then put that bag in the cedar chest in the guest room. They'll be safe in there for sure.

Now we just need it to get chilly.  
Ha, that isn't happening ANYTIME soon...